Have you ever looked at the budget and broken down? Has there ever been a day when it just doesn’t add up? A week? A longer season? I have been there. It’s so hard when no matter what work you put in, the finances just don’t add up. It can be even harder as a homeschool mom to struggle with money. There are so many opportunities out there for homeschool children if you can afford them. The hardest thing can be telling your child no to something they want to do because you just can’t swing it. It gets even harder when their homeschool friends can do these great things while they can’t. I wanted to share some encouragement and tips for homeschooling when you are broke.
Homeschooling When You are Broke
It can be so difficult to see your friends do incredible things for their kids within homeschooling. They may not notice you noticing but you do. You notice the activities and classes their child can take. You notice their lunch cooler filled with foods you can’t afford to give your kids. You notice the nice items that other kids have. You feel guilty taking things off the free table but you know you need them. It’s a very hard place to be.
I want to encourage you. This isn’t permanent. There are ways out. Whether it means working from home, finding a new job, or budgeting more carefully there are ways through this season. I know for us, this season has felt never ending. We actually just made the giant leap to take a new job. It would be a pay cut for a season and then it would give the opportunity for growth. I have worked extra hours on my end and done all I could. For now, things are tight but I wanted to share some tips that I have learned to help me work through this season and still keep my joy.
I know, that seems like such an obvious statement but it is so true. Don’t compare yourself to another homeschool mom. You don’t know what home looks like. You see them at their best. They could be in debt up to their ears, have a husband who works so much he is never home, or use appearances to cover insecurity. There is more to someone’s story than you will ever know. Some of the people I thought really had it all together, were actually surviving themselves.
Accept your normal.
This is the season of life you are in. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t comfortable and it hurts. For this season of your life this is your normal. For me, acknowledging that for now this is the way it is has helped. Instead of looking at your hopes for what your normal would look like, accept that for this season this is where you are.
Are you serious about changing your situation? It’s time to side hustle to change things. For you, this could mean picking up a side job, selling things from your home, or getting very strict with your budget. When finances get tight it can be easy to give up. Sometimes the solution is hard work. Right now I am working a lot of virtual assistant hours. Not all of it is fun. I was joking with a friend the other day. I told her I was so serious about changing our situation that I would push the same button for an hour if it meant I was paid. There has to be a point where you get intense and make a change. Someone once said, “Your destiny is on the other side of your comfort zone.”
I know it is hard to say no to certain things. Homeschool moms are invited to lunch, encouraged to buy certain curriculum, given countless opportunities to spend more money to keep their kids happy. Believe it or not, not all of this is necessary. It is completely ok to say no to something that will set your family back financially. There are free field trip options. If your friend is genuinely a friend, they will understand. It is completely ok to say, “can we hang out at my place or the park instead?” Just remember you are not saying no to the person, you are saying no to something that your family can’t afford. There is nothing wrong with saying no.
Find people walking the same road.
Instead of trying to fit in with people who are wealthier than you, invest in relationships with people who will understand. I have found that some of my best friendships are people who not only understand my situation but don’t fault me for it.
I know this season of life is hard. I know it can make you feel small. Don’t let it. You will get through this. Things will get better. This is only a season.
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